Nowadays, we are very much familiar with the term antibiotic. We also know the names of so many antibiotics like penicillin, streptomycin, vancomycin, chloramphenicol, tetracycline, erythromycin etc. When we go to doctor for the treatment of any disease or ailment, doctors generally prescribe some antibiotics for that. Have you ever thought that how these antibiotics are harmful for us?
This was a great discovery in the field of medical science, when in 1929 Scientist Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotic penicillin from mold Penicillium notatum. Actually at that time, this was considered as a 'miracle drug' which could be used for treatment of so many bacterial diseases. In previous days, some diseases like typhoid, cholera etc. had been considered as incurable disease and took lives of many people at that time. But after the discovery of antibiotics, these fatal diseases can be cured very easily and quickly by the application of antibiotics. So, we cannot deny the huge contribution of antibiotics in the field of medical science.
But we should also know how these antibiotics actually affect our health adversely. This is true that antibiotics work very fast and within a few days you will be totally recovered from bacterial infection or disease. But at the same time they actually do significant damage to our body also.
First in the course of time, they will disturb the balance of micro-organisms in our gut. We know that there are so many different types of micro-organisms present in our gut. Some of them are beneficial or desirable bacteria like lactic acid bacteria which are playing a big role in digestion of foods in our gut by secreting so many enzymes and they also suppress the growth of disease causing pathogenic bacteria in our gut. They are known as probiotics. These antibiotics will destroy these beneficial bacteria along with targeted pathogenic bacteria. Hence, it has been observed that when we take antibiotics, there may be some indigestion problem in our system.
Secondly, there may be chance of presence of mutant (antibiotic resistant) strain of particular pathogenic bacteria. Although this frequency of presence of mutant bacteria is very low like one mutant bacterium may be present in one million bacterial population. This antibiotic resistant srrain can be generated either by mutation in gene or by plasmid transmission. When we are applying particular antibiotic to kill these pathogenic bacteria, 999999 bacteria will be killed and one mutant bacterium will remain alive. Now, this one bacterium will proliferate and grow in number as one million which all are resistant to this particular antibiotic. When again you will be attacked by this same bacteria, this antibiotic may not be effective to control the disease. Most dangerous thing is that these antibiotic resistant bacteria can transfer their antibiotic resistance gene to another bacteria through plasmid transmission.
So, using antibiotic indiscriminately we are doing damage to our body system or health. Thus, we should believe more on our innate immune system rather than on antibiotics. In this connection, I would like to mention that we should take probiotic fermented foods more to boost our immune system and improve the microbial balance in our gut. We should follow the age old concept of "Prevention is better than cure". I am not affirming that antibiotic is absolutely not necessary for the treatment of disease caused by microbial infection. Even in some critical cases, antibiotic may be the only quick solution to get rid of the problem. But we should be more judicious regarding use of antibiotics specially in the case of children and why we should be more careful about it as I have already explained that. I hope that this writing will be proved useful for you to think differently. I wish you all very good luck to fight against corona virus successfully.